Ban political parties from contesting LG elections


Yes let us hold LG elections without political parties and take the first step to put an end to the curse of confrontational politics in our country. which is sick and tired of old style politics and old style politicians. We are now living in a new world with Information Technology ‘directing’ our affairs, we need a new political system beneficil to our people, particularly our youth, the leaders of tomorrow.

Many well informed citizens have pleaded for an end to confrontational politics and the establishment of a new political culture for this country. Eric De Siva wrote in an article titled "If the Tsunami could not unite us what can". "The speeches that we heard during the immediate aftermath of that disaster were so soothing in our ears that we thought, for a moment, that our leaders were ready to close ranks to launch a truly national and concerted effort, to get the country back on its feet, but that did not happen. Fortunately the two main parties have now finally come around to form a sort of coalition, we do hope it lasts.

The two main political parties are both pledged to furthering a multi ethnic, multi-cultural, democratic political system. They both profess support for ‘free market’ economic policies; their foreign policies are identical; their social policies are the same so let us hope and pray that they would continue to work together.

The pith and substance of politics is no doubt the acquisition and exercise of power, but those who wield power and those who aspire to power must understand that there are written and unwritten rules and common decency that must attend them at all times.

The political culture of this country has been built on adversarial, confrontational politics without regard to the national interest. Our politicians have missed the wood for the trees. This is the unfortunate tradition which we seem to want to perpetuate. The cement that has held this form of confrontational politics together has been, the vulgar pursuit of political power, for with it goes the opportunity to board the gravy train and get rich quickly. In the process have we not become a morally degenerate society?

Politics in this country has been a blood sport-governed by the rules of the slum—-where the criminal underworld rules and where the scum of our society predominate. Politicians were for some years the patrons of the scum but the wheel appears to have turned and the scum from the slums, with their values, have begun to lord it over the politicians. Some have even become politicians. Until this present coalition government came into office political parties in this country represent organized hatred. The blood sport could result in a blood bath at the next elections unless we do something about it. Let us start by holding the next Local Government elections with citizens contesting in their individual capacities, yes let us introduce legislation to ban Political Parties from fielding candidates at Local Government elections; that would to a great extent reduce the violence that has become associated with our elections contested by political parties.

We have since 1978 tolerated a ‘constitutional dictatorship’. We have acted like servile beings when we relate to power. We seem to have even accepted our fate to be ruled by menials merely because they have political power. We cannot blame anyone but ourselves if we do not discharge our responsibilities –government must not be left to politicians. Let us shake off our apathy and find a way of participating in the political process ourselves and breathe new life into our politics. We may not need ‘peoples revolutions’ to remove governments but we can certainly mobilize to ensure that peripheral political parties do not subvert the will of the people.

The need of the hour is for strong inclusive government. I have on four occasions suggested a Donoughmore type constitutional arrangement; I see much merit in such a non-confrontational constitutional arrangement. It is only a strong government not based on any political party system that can create the requisite harmonious political and economic climate to meet the challenges of globalization. It is good governance and not weak, unstable governments that can meet the challenges we face today.

We need to usher in the age of cooperation and leave behind the age of confrontation, which has done immeasurable harm to this country. Whilst other countries are galloping ahead we are moving backwards. The disease of confrontation has spread to all levels of our society. The politician is at the bottom of this——we must pull back from the abyss. We MUST hold the next round of Local Government Elections without political parties, we must learn to co-exist and make political cooperation an art form.

Milinda Moragoda, addressing voters of Colombo South some years ago made a refreshingly apt statement and I quote "Back in time, it (Colombo South) was a place that nurtured a different breed of politician. It was and is an electorate representing diverse social, economic, religious and ethnic communities. Though many of its representatives were fierce political foes who bore strikingly opposing ideologies, high ideals of public service, civility, decency and a sense of fair play were reigning values. Colombo South politicians whilst agreeing to disagree were mature and confident enough to rely on their own powers of reason and persuasion rather than coercion and invective to achieve their goals. Yes Colombo South had a political culture and a proud history which we can well learn from today. Let us rededicate ourselves to uphold these values."

That was at a time that the multi-member Colombo South elected without contest two undoubtedly able leaders who towered over ordinary politicians – J.R. Jayewardene and Bernard Soysa?

K Godage

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